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Chris Galley

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Thursday 8 October – Penrith Rec.

An early start for me. This is what it is all about, the bottom line in politics:


This is the polling station on the Rec. in Castletown where I spent a somewhat chilly morning “telling”. This is the process of finding out who has voted and allows the parties to focus their efforts on getting non voters out, rather than hassling those who have already completed their civic duty. Representatives of the parties ask voters to give their electoral roll number, so we can cross them off the list. 90% plus of voters are happy to give that information, some object, presumably on understandable privacy grounds. I suspect most people are unaware  that the local council also supplies that information to the parties, albeit after the event. At this polling station there were tellers from the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and the British National Party.

And here is an example of street politics for real. On the left is a voter, who – to paraphrase – said “right, now that I’ve got you lot all in one place, tell me what you think about New Squares”. So from left to right (ahem), Liberal Democrat Elissa Robinson (in the black jacket), Conservative David Whipp and the BNP’s Clive Jefferson gave the voter her own personal Question Time.


Late afternoon: we meet up in the Conservative Club to work out who to chivvy up. Lucille Nicholson, one of the other candidates for the Open Primary joined us there, she had spent a couple of hours ”knocking up” supporters in Castletown. That’s the old phrase for getting the vote out, but it sounds somewhat indecent now!

After dark falls it’s not a good idea to knock on doors. So Lucille and I went to this:


This was a fascinating example in consultation with the people. The turn out wasn’t that high, probably a dozen citizens, but the quality of the presentations was good, firstly in respect of the Environment Agency’s work on the Thacka Beck, which every so oftens bursts its banks; secondly in terms of identifying footpaths and cycle routes that could be improved. The most interesting aspect of that was some big maps – which had earlier gone up in the Library – where residents had put up their comments on Post-It notes, such as “the bus station doesn’t have much shelter from bad weather”.

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